Storyline: Donald Miller and Me


Best-selling author Donald Miller hosted a great party in Portland this week called Storyline, a conference “designed to convert attendees from consumers to producers in their lives.”

Or as the conference brochure tantalizingly proclaimed: “If you want to change yourself, your community, or the world, you must first understand the power of story. And the most powerful stories aren’t on television or at the movies, rather, they are the stories we tell to each other in the way we live our lives. If you understand what makes a good story, you understand what makes a good life.”

The thing that intrigues me about Storyline is that it’s not an event that hinges on big-name speakers — besides Miller himself (and he’s got a very niche audience to begin with). Rather, the event is about discovering your purpose, finding yourself in your own story, and helping to flesh that out.

Here are a few of the best quotes from the conference (as shared via Twitter):

“If you decide to do something important, you will face resistance. But resistance creates lift.” —Donald Miller

“Don’t just fall. Jump. Either way you are going in. You might as well lean into it.” —Ian Morgan Cron

“Your story flows out of who you are, not who you ought to be.” —Donald Miller

“Never trust a person who hasn’t suffered.” —Donald Miller

“If you don’t know your own story, you are lost.” —Donald Miller

Donald Miller circa 2000A little-known fact about Donald Miller: He wrote a book before his bigtime best-seller Blue Like Jazz, called Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance (Harvest House, 2000). I and maybe 20 other people in the country actually read that book.

A little-known fact about me: I did an interview with Miller for the Billy Graham youth website,, back in 2000, when that first book came out. I’ve rescued that interview from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine so you can download it as a PDF for all eternity. Around that same time, I sent some of my poetry to Miller, which he posted online at his (now defunct) website. So my poetry was once published by Donald Miller. How ’bout that?

Check out the upcoming release of the Blue Like Jazz movie!

UPDATE 6/10/2011: Loads of great sketchnotes from Storyline conference on Flickr, thanks to Mike Rohde!




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Posted on 06-09-2011


  1. Jonathan Sigmon says:

    June 10th, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Great summary, Steve!

    I love the mission: “designed to convert attendees from consumers to producers in their lives.” A worthwhile pursuit.

    I love Miller’s stuff. I’m intrigued to see how Blue Like Jazz translates to the big screen.

  2. Mike Rohde says:

    June 11th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Steve, thanks for the mention! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the sketchnotes. 🙂

  3. Mike Morrell says:

    June 11th, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Ha! I remember (but do not own) that book!

    And, I wonder how many of us have these kinds of Don Miller stories. He wanted to publish this short story I wrote, ‘The Floating Head of Jesus,’ in the now-defunct ‘Ankeny Briefcase.’ And I invited him to his first Gmail account.

    Oh, we knew Don when…

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